On Monday, April 28th, 2014, the City of Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and the City Council, comprised of Anthony E. Blumberg, Paul H. Frank, Daniel A. Kaufman, Alyss Knobel, David NAftzger and Kim Stone, bestowed upon Dr. Jim Hile, also known affectionately to students and parents alike as "Doc", a Key to the City of Highland Park.
Cited for his eighteen years of teaching and service to Highland Park High School and the Highland Park Community as a Director for the Band program at Highland Park High School, Mayor Rotering read off a list of Dr. Hile's activities and accomplishments that was nothing short of extraordinary.
At the conclusion of the Mayor's proclamation and presentation of the Key to the City, she invited community members to contribute their own thoughts. As a testament to Dr. Hile's impact and influence, several students and parents stood up and contributed their expressions of gratitude and appreciation for all that Dr. Hile has done for the music program and all the students in it.
What is most astonishing about Dr. Hile is not just what he has done and how much he has accomplished, but the manner in which he has done everything. Going above and beyond the "call of duty" throughout his entire tenure at Highland Park High School, Dr. Hile was an exemplary role model, mentor, teacher, and leader for all the students in the band program. He performed his duties as a labor of love, many parents expressing that he was like a "second father" to their child or children. Indeed, one could not imagine a teacher with more energy, enthusiasm, dedication, work-ethic, care and concern for his students than Dr. Hile. All this was combined with a profound musicality and knowledge about music which he imparted in every rehearsal and every course which he taught or directed- including AP Music Theory, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Pep Band, Marching Band, and every single concert he planned and conducted.
He has upheld the highest standards of musical and academic performance and personal integrity in each of his students, and has earned the respect of his fellow music educators throughout Illinois, the USA and in Europe and Asia, where he has taken the HPHS band on tour on numerous occasions. He has arranged for his student ensembles to perform at so many important functions in Highland Park- for Senior Citizens, Elementary Schools, National Holiday observances, and his traditional Halloween Concert was a special highlight for many young children and families each year! Under Dr. Hile's direction, the HPHS Bands have contributed enromously to the overall school spirit that we enjoy at every community gathering, football game, assembly, and beyond. Many of Dr. Hile's students have gone on to pursue careers in music, gaining acceptance at some of the most prestigious music schools in the country, so it is clear that his legacy will assure that music will be a main priority for the community of Highland Park.
Dr. Hile is a teacher whose shoes cannot be filled by one person alone, and whose departure from HPHS as he enters "retirement" will be greatly felt by faculty, staff, and administrators, but mostly by the students and their parents. This special honor of being awarded the "Key to the City of Highland Park" is richly deserved and can only represent a small token of the collective appreciation and gratitude Dr. Hile has earned from the community for his contributions to Highland Park High School and the City of Highland Park.
Bravo and thank you to Dr. James Hile!